The truck driver shoved Kenny hard in the back, severely straining the vertebrae in his neck. When Kenny turned around, the angry big guy punched Kenny right in the nose, snapping the bloody skin at the bridge. At that Kenny dropped his computer and the palooka punched him again, blackening his dark left eye.
If I didn’t know Kenny I would have been smiling with some vicarious delight.
But I do know him. And I like him. Kenny Giusini is one of those people who is easy to like. Because he is one of those guys who can’t help himself: he basically likes to help people.
In fact, on episode 25 of the TV series “Parking Wars” they don’t show Kenny writing a parking ticket, but helping some older gentleman to a hospital. The man had fallen in the middle of Philadelphia’s major north and south artery, Broad Street.
In case you missed it, Kenny is a parking meter guy.
And because parking meter folks are some of the few people (perhaps besides the garbage haulers) in the city who actually do their jobs, very well and very industriously, they piss us all off – even if it is better to be pissed off than pissed on. And even if we actually deserve the damn ticket.
Or maybe what ignites the powder kegs between our irascible ears is because we need a Ph.D. in hieroglyphics. That is, to interpret what the heck the street signs, parking signs and arrows pointing dis way and dat way and every which way dat don’t make no sense to nobody. Not even to the roomful of smarmy chimpanzees who created duh signs, figuring what-duh-hell, what-duh-hell, what-duh-heck. Let dem hang demselves up by duh neck.
Look, we’d all like to punch someone – especially in the government – who pisses us off. And, I have even written here many times about taking a machete to the overwhelming number of fools to: over circumcise them, castrate them or transgender them.
But parking meter people don’t make the rules. They’re just told to write a lot of tickets. They don’t create the policies any more than our porky pigs with a gun and badge do – even though some of dem and dose folks do it with such insolence they should have their headlights darkened.
Furthermore, the Parking Authority is caught in the cat’s cradle of state and local political-insane asylums. They are charged with raising revenues for every kook and half-twit’s whim. That includes everything from our schools to pension packages after our politicians have already robbed the life out of them like a venereal disease.
What I guess I am saying is we usually end up punching the wrong people. Punch the people who create the rules. Punch the people who generate the silly laws that make Philadelphia unapproachable with high parking tickets that enable the parking garages to charge way, way, way too astronomically much. And the traffic courts, for being too much of a land of astronomical low-lifes.
Punch the people who are gaining the most, not the people who have the most to lose. Punch the person to the right of you and the left of you and you have a 67 percent chance of punching two people more stupid than you are.
Like after that tragic disaster in Tucson when that deranged misanthrope shot and killed those people and dreadfully wounded the likes of Congresswoman Giffords.
And in the immediate aftermath, there was Philadelphia’s Congressman Robert Brady. He went to Washington already pompously bloated, like he overate too many free-plate specials. Now he’s got a couple of extra wagons he’s dragging behind his gluteus maximus, as well as more ‘chins’ than a Chinese phone book.
Between mouthfuls of porkbarrel he tried to introduce legislation that congress folks should have lots more protection.
From what? Over eating at the public trough?
Of course this would have made our aloof politicians more self-indulgent, and even less approachable than they already are, especially from our verbal punches.
Look, we all need more protection – particularly from our politicians. But what we really need is jobs. And then we probably wouldn’t need as much protection – except from our politicians.
Any jobs. More jobs. And more people who work hard at them.
And that is what is extremely sad about what happened to a guy like Kenny, on many fronts, that afternoon.
He had warned the trucker, who delivers bakery rolls, an hour before, a block or so away from the Academy of Music. He was parked in a no stopping zone, as the sign stipulated, and Kenny told him he’d have to leave or get a $76 ticket. An hour or so later, Kenny told police, on the block of the Academy, there were two trucks parked illegally. Kenny said he wrote a ticket for one truck. And as he was putting the ticket on the windshield of the second one this guy comes storming out of the passenger side.
And so it went.
Now, you are no doubt wondering why Kenny didn’t retaliate. And let me tell you, Kenny, 54, is 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds of some lean-and-mean, well-defined machinery. He’s got a Harley he rides hard. And a girlfriend that rides him harder. He’s from South Philly where they proudly boast on t-shirts, beneath their scowling faces: “I’m not angry. I’m from South Philadelphia.”
And even worse, Kenny’s got an older brother – a lawyer who’s running for judge.
Hmm. Now that is a double ‘ouch!’
But Kenny didn’t retaliate because Parking Authority dictates: He is to simply walk away. If he does react the way the rest of us might normally react, (you know, with elephant guns) the meter people are immediately suspended for a month without pay.
Apparently the 40-year-old trucker from Sewell, N.J., Christopher DeSanto, is going to be suspended for a lot longer. Attacking a parking authority representative is the same as attacking a police officer – a first degree felony.
All that for a $76 ticket issued after Kenny had already warned him. How many of us get a second chance?
After Kenny was patched up in the hospital he had a few weeks off to heal and confront those emotional and psychological demons.
“Nobody goes to work expecting this to happen,” he said, shaking his bruised and softened head at the thought. “You’re put out on the street to do your job. It’s just a job.”
Actually, Kenny has ‘just two jobs’. And he couldn’t work at either the past few weeks. For the night job, however, he wasn’t receiving any sick leave. And the loss of the extra income made him even sicker.
The irony is that both of Kenny’s jobs involve tickets. Kenny works collecting and tearing apart concert tickets in the evening at the Kimmel Center, the orchestra’s home and Philadelphia’s major music hall.
The joke has been that Kenny writes tickets by day. And rips them up by night.
“If only,” he lamented, “your angry memories could be ripped up and discarded so easily.”
But, of course.
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony.